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About the Story"Wildflowers" was written as a "diary game", as defined by Caelyn Sandel - a game that was written specifically for the benefit of the author, rather than being written for an audience.
It is properly understood as a game poem rather than game fiction.
Trigger warning for abuse.
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If you've ever had a friend who had a problem you couldn't fix, you've probably experienced something similar to this, and the story--an autobiographical one--is definitely something that will tug your heart strings.
It's short and reads fast; the flow and rhythm of the words moves quickly. It feels strange to say I enjoyed this; it's an intimate view into a very private exchange, and a very sad one at that, but the actual mechanics of the story and interaction and use of medium were perfect for this type of story.
Instead of making me type "N" "Talk to x", the story is a linear one with limited player agency, meaning I could largely press 'space' to advance and 1 or 2 to choose a response. The limitations on player agency and ending outcomes functions as a meta-commentary on life, listening, and relationships.
Playing the game multiple times reveals how little you can change, and makes you question approaching it as a game at all; which made me simultaneously question how we communicate with one another. While we may have our own goals in mind for each conversation, we run the risk of ignoring the agency, feelings, and goals of the people we interact with.
This game raises the question of who we're really helping when we try to help our friends, and it does it so skillfully that I couldn't help but replay my own difficult conversations, running through them and trying to imagine different outcomes.
If you enjoyed Wildflowers...
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This is version 5 of this page, edited by Caelyn Sandel on 9 February 2015 at 3:48pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item